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Wright and Galicinao Earn Conference’s Top Honors

Tiffany Wright is Player of the Year, Brie Galicinao is Co-Coach of the Year and six others are named to all-Big West teams.

UC Santa Barbara junior outfielder Tiffany Wright was named the Big West Conference’s Player of the Year for softball, and first-year head coach Brie Galicinao earned Big West Co-Coach of the Year honors, the conference announced Tuesday.

Along with Wright, senior Tisha Duran and junior Christine Ramos garnered First Team All-Big West accolades, while seniors Ericka Hansen and Nicole Churnock, junior Tami Weston and sophomore Jessica Ziegler earned honorable-mention nods.

A 2007 Big West honorable mention, Wright had a standout junior season culminating in UCSB’s first-ever Big West Field Player of the Year award. She was second on the team batting .350 overall across all 54 of the Gauchos’ games, while leading the team with 40 runs, 15 doubles and 113 total bases. She was second on the team with 40 RBIs. It was in Big West games, however, that she truly shined. The center-fielder led all players in conference games for batting (.487), slugging percentage (.947), runs scored (23), hits (37), RBIs (26), doubles (eight), home runs (nine), total bases (72) and fielding percentage (1.000).

Wright had hits in all but two conference games, including 11 multiple-hit showings, and she ended the season amid an eight-game hitting streak. During the final series of the season against Cal State Fullerton last weekend, she tied the UCSB career home run record with the 23rd of her three-year career, and she set a new single-season doubles record with 15.

She ranks second for single-season home runs, fourth for single-season runs, third for single-season RBIs and third for single-season hits in the UCSB record books. She also ranks among the nation’s top 100 players for home runs per game (0.22), RBIs per game (0.74), doubles per game (0.28) and slugging percentage (.638).

Before being named to the 2008 All-Big West Conference First Team, Wright earned three Big West Player of the Week honors throughout the season.

In her first season at the helm of the Gaucho program, coach Galicinao led the team to a 30-24 overall record, marking just the fifth 30-win season in program history and the second consecutive. The Gauchos posted a Big West record of 13-8, good for second place, their best finish since 2004 when they tied Cal State Northridge for second with a 14-7 record.

UCSB also had arguably the best offensive season in program history. The Gauchos set team records for single-season batting average (.291), runs (243), hits (414), home runs (38), total bases (625) and RBIs (216). The Gauchos also led the Big West in all of those categories and for slugging percentage (.428), on-base percentage (.357) and triples (12). UCSB also led the conference with its .967 fielding percentage, 17 double plays and 23 runners caught stealing.

Galicinao shares the Coach of the Year honor with Long Beach State’s Kim Sowder, who led her 49ers to the conference crown and a 39-15 regular-season record and a 15-6 Big West mark.

Duran earns her second consecutive All-Big West First Team honor after a stellar senior season. The third baseman led the Gauchos with her .360 batting average, 13 home runs and 55 RBIs. In fact, she set the school record for single-season home runs and single-season RBIs, and is one of just four Big West players ever to post 50 RBIs or more in a year. The two-time Big West Player of the Week tallied 13 multiple-hit games, had 16 games with two or more RBIs and strung together two nine-game hitting streaks during the season.

Duran ranks seventh in the UCSB record books for single-season batting average, sixth for single-season hits (58), fifth for single-season runs (37) and sixth for single-season doubles (12). In her two-year career with the Gauchos, she has posted the second-best career batting average (.343), is tied for fourth for career RBIs (88), tied ninth for career runs (70) and career doubles (23), and is eighth all-time for home runs (16). Duran also ranks 18th nationally for RBIs per game (1.02), while ranking in the top 60 for home runs per game (0.24), slugging percentage (.689) and total home runs. She is also ranked as the 83rd toughest Division I player to strikeout.

Ramos was named to the All-Big West First Team for the third straight season after finishing the year ranked third on the team with her .339 batting average and first among Big West players with her 65 hits. The first baseman ranked third for assists (117), fourth for triples (3), fifth for stolen bases (15), sixth for runs scored (31) and seventh for batting average among Big West players. In conference competition, she batted .354 and tallied 28 hits, 12 runs, six RBIs and five stolen bases.

Ramos posted multiple hits in 19 games this season and strung together an impressive 14-game hitting streak that lasted from March 15 through April 12. Her 65 hits ranks second in the Gaucho record books for single-season hits, and her 183 career hits ranks fourth all-time. She continues to hold the top spot on the UCSB career batting average list with her .346 three-year average, and she ranks fourth all-time for career runs scored (85).

Hansen picked up her first All-Big West honor with her honorable mention. The San Clemente native batted a career-best .294 this season with a .327 average in conference games. She accumulated 14 runs, six home runs, 16 RBIs and posted a .518 on-base percentage. Behind the plate, she led the conference in picking off three runners and posting a .987 fielding percentage.

Another senior that earned her first career All-Big West honor was Churnock. The left-fielder, team co-captain and Orange native had a career-year, batting .301 with 17 runs, eight doubles, 15 RBIs, three stolen bases and her first career home run in the season finale against Fullerton on Saturday. Churnock also posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in Big West games.

Weston also picked up her first All-Big West honorable-mention nod after posting a team-low 3.55 ERA and 11-6 overall record in the circle. The pitcher tossed 110.1 innings for the Gauchos and tallied 73 strikeouts with a .290 opponent batting average. In conference outings, she earned a 6-3 record with a save while posting a 3.18 ERA in 11 appearances. She struck out 30 Big West players and had a team-low .278 opponent batting average.

In her first season in the starting lineup, Ziegler provided a solid bat and strong defense at first base. The San Diego native ranked third in the conference with her 11 sac bunts, 36 runs scored and 16 stolen bases. She led the Big West in fielding double plays with 16 and was second for chances with 430. At the plate, she batted .253 overall, was second on the team for runs scored, notched four doubles, two triples and had 15 RBIs. She also led the Gauchos, going 16-for-19 in stolen base attempts. Ziegler committed just five errors at first base and her .988 fielding percentage was the highest among Gauchos that started every contest.

The Gauchos’ seven All-Big West selections are the most since the 2004 season, when seven players earned conference accolades. Cal Poly led the conference with nine selections, and Long Beach State picked up eight. The 49ers’ Brooke Turner earned Big West Pitcher of the Year and Freshman Pitcher of the Year honors, while Pacific’s Nicole Matson was named Freshman Field Player of the Year.

Lisa Skvarla is UCSB’s assistant media relations director.

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